Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Master of Arts, Theology, Thesis
Abstract: This thesis synthesizes concrete next steps for churches that want to prepare their congregants for dialogue about racial reconciliation. It assumes prior reading of the book "Beyond Colorblind" (written by the thesis writer Sarah Shin, release date of October 2017). The steps outlined in the PDF are to help those who desire to start conversations about ethnicity and race in their churches or Christian organizations. While there are many resources in Christian and secular literature that address racial reconciliation and justice , many evangelical communities are unable to implement such resources because they come from a functionally colorblind worldview that does not see ethnicity has an integral part of the imago Dei in humanity. Awareness of ethnic difference must precede speaking of reconciliation and justice. Functional colorblindness leads to a lack of skills in leading conversation about ethnicity awareness in ministry leaders. Ministry leaders have the challenge of addressing gaps in scripture about ethnicity, baggage from previous bad experiences , and lack of positive vision for why this conversation is important. When they do enter the conversation, they may lack an accurate assessment of their own preparedness and skills. This PDF helps build an awareness of ethnic identity and difference in churches so that they can adequately be prepared for future conversations about reconciliation and difference (such as Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison or Brenda Salter McNeil's Roadmap to Reconciliation). The PDF is an initial group process step in a longer-term view of a church's journey towards multiethnic, reconciling kingdom witness . An initial draft of the PDF was reviewed by Dr. Emmett Price, who provided feedback for edits. Some of the continuums in the PDF were reviewed by Dr. Virginia Ward, and the thesis writer used them in trainings at local conferences with ministry leaders interested in having dialogue about race. Next, the PDF was sent to nine different pastors across the country. They provided feedback about what they found useful, helpful, confusing, and needing more clarity. They ranged in congregational size, personal ethnic background and gender, ethnic make up and size of their congregation, denominational affiliation, and geographic location in the country. The church application PDF was then edited based on such feedback.